The Punjab Sehat Card program is taking steps to ensure its sustainability by implementing a 50% co-payment for health card claims. This significant decision, set to take effect on Tuesday, has been made by the Punjab Health Initiative Management Company (PHIMC) to evenly share the cost of procedures in private hospitals between the government and patients.
As part of these changes, the co-payment for certain treatments in private healthcare facilities has been raised from 30% to 40%. Additionally, specialized services like oncology and dialysis will no longer be exempt from co-payment, starting from January 10, 2024.
Dr. Ali Razzaque, the CEO of PHIMC, emphasized the necessity of this 50% co-payment to discourage the misuse of free treatment in the commercial sector. This move aims to support the financially burdened Sehat Card initiative, which has incurred substantial costs for the Punjab government.
Even after the government paid Rs. 100 billion in premiums to the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLIC), teaching hospitals are still grappling with monthly losses. Acting health minister Dr. Javed Akram acknowledged the reduction in government obligations and an increase in medication funding but also recognized the hospitals’ ongoing financial challenges.
The healthcare industry’s financial constraints have been affecting patients, making the higher co-payment a strategic step to address these issues and ensure the long-term sustainability of the Sehat Sahulat Program. The Punjab government remains committed to providing basic healthcare services to the people while striking a financial balance.